Campaigns/Elections

Election Day Freebie Watch: Part 2

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Free Stuff

Poor Starbucks can't seem to do anything right lately. After hyping free coffee for those who "care enough to vote," the chain has been forced to revise its promotion by federal election law. Now they're giving a free cup of coffee to any one who cares enough to ask for a free cup of coffee. That's civic participation.

"Federal law makes no distinction between cups of coffee or a raffle ticket versus a buy-the-vote kind of thing on the other end of the spectrum. We just told Starbucks, essentially, no good deed goes unpunished. We appreciate the gesture, but it's forbidden" according to the office of Washington's secretary of state.

Looks like there's a chance for my objectivity to be tainted after all. I'm headed out now to watch federal election law get broken by baristas who didn't get the memo…

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  1. If you can’t sell it, it’s not yours.

  2. For fuck’s sake.

    Shoot the lawyers.

  3. The problem is the influence of Big Coffee ™ on politics.

  4. You see, Katherine, you’re just shilling for the big coffee companies that are ruining America.

  5. Did you know that Starbucks actually buys its coffee from FURRINERS!? They tuk ur’ jebs!

  6. “If you can’t sell it, it’s not yours.”
    Stop saying that you own your kidneys!

  7. I don’t quite understand this. It is one thing to say “I will give you free coffee if you vote for Obama.” but it is completely different to just say “You get a free cup of coffee for casting voting.”

    By the way, I feel you should be able to sell your vote or give things out for voting for a specific candidate. As Andy Craig pointed out if you can’t sell it, it’s not yours. George Carlin did an excellent bit on this in which he asked “What else do you own, but you can’t sell?” He was referring to prostitution though.

  8. economist-

    Hey’d, considering they have a vested interest in free trade and stopping anti-capitalist demagouges from using land use regulations, I’d take Big Coffee over your average rent-seeking Big Agriculture any day.

  9. err, “Hey”.

    Preview, preview, preview.

  10. Don’t shoot all the lawyers. I’m a law student and I think this is absurd.

  11. Tiffany-

    People often don’t realize that it wasn’t a good guy spouting Shakespeare’s oft-quoted anti-lawyer line. It was said by people plotting to kill everyone else they didn’t like, and who knew that the rule of law and its guardians was their biggets obstacle. The inane complexities are the result of legislatures and politicians. The lawyers are what keeps an element of rational sanity in the system. In libertarian lingo, via the adversarial system they keep a vestige of competitive forces in the law.

  12. There will probably be long lines for all this free food and drink. This will at least get us ready for the soup lines after Obamarx wins.

  13. The specific vision of the “kill all the lawyers” plotters in Henry VI was stated by the cabal’s pretender to the throne, Jack Cade:

    I thank you, good people:- there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

    Libertarian paradise!

  14. There ain’t no such thing as a free cup of coffee. TANSTAAFCOC.

  15. Do you think if I asked for a free cup of coffee and refused to show them my “I voted” sticker and explained the legal ramifications of bribing people to vote that they would spit in my free cup of coffee? And would you blame them?

  16. Joe,
    Did you vote yes on question 1?(slashing MA state income tax)…I’m sure we probably cancelled each other’s votes, but we probably both voted to take it easy on marijuana smokers….Question 2 could pass…what do you think?

    I haven’t smoked any in years.

    I held my nose and voted for Barr…I really hope that doesn’t encourage the LP to nominate neocon-CIA veterans in the future.

    Who is the dream LP candidate in 2012?

  17. Andy Craig,
    I was joking.

  18. I’m headed out now to watch federal election law get broken by baristas who didn’t get the memo…

    Having previously reported on free vibrators for voters, Katherine Mangu-Ward now goes in search of baristas who aren’t afraid to break the rules.

    This is getting interesting.

  19. Tiffany and Andy –

    I find this offensive and I’m a lawyer.

    Perhaps, instead of giving away coffee for voting, they could offer free coffee to “help people to stay alert while waiting in line to vote” or “to offer refreshment after the long wait”.

    Sometimes the cure for lawyers is more lawyers.

  20. As a compliance attorney, I can kind of see where they are coming from:

    A flat-out ban is much easier to enforce and comply with. Once you start introducing intent requirements and nuancy safe harbors, you open it up to the very abuses you were trying to get rid of.

  21. Smacky, I think the baristas would, as a group, hock a luggy in your coffee in full view of everyone before putting the lid on and handing it to you.

    Starbucks would go a long way towards earning my customer loyalty if they supported them afterward.

  22. You can torture me all you want I still won’t change my vote!

  23. I just hope you don’t use those whips on the wall over there!

  24. “I thank you, good people:- there shall be no money; all shall eat and drink on my score; and I will apparel them all in one livery, that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.”

    You sure that wasn’t Obama?

  25. DICK.
    The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.

    JACK CADE.
    Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled o’er, should undo a man? Some say the bee stings: but I say, ’tis the bee’s wax; for I did but seal once to a thing, and I was never mine own man since.- How now! who’s there?

    I dare say that Shakespeare was disparaging lawyers, not showing how important they are.

  26. Typical. It is illegal to do something that politicians do on a regular basis. They can sell their votes, but we cannot.

  27. Don’t shoot all the lawyers. I’m a law student and I think this is absurd.

    No, kill them all. God knows His own.

  28. Don’t shoot all the lawyers. I’m a law student and I think this is absurd.

    No, kill them all. God knows His own.

    [There, that makes more sense.]

  29. Ludjub-

    Those are the bad guys saying that. You’re not supposed to agree with them.

  30. I got my free cup today and was reminded why I don’t buy Starbucks coffee, the taste alone reminded me of the scene from Austin Powers, The Spy who Shagged Me. Wow people pay 3-4 bucks for this, what animal’s urine do they brew this stuff with?

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